The UK’s ban on new petrol and diesel cars will officially come into force in 2035 after pushing back the deadline for net zero emissions by five years. However, automotive experts assume that many drivers will continue to choose used gasoline and diesel cars for decades to come.
Marc Palmer, head of strategy and insights at Auto Trader, expressed skepticism about the impact of the ban on most motorists as they can continue to buy petrol and diesel cars on the used market. Palmer pointed out that seven million people buy used cars every year, compared to one million new cars. He also noted that even in Norway, a country known for its rapid adoption of electric vehicles, four out of five cars on the road still run on gasoline or diesel.
Stuart Masson from The Car Expert shared this opinion, stating that there will be no shortage of used cars in the UK with 90% of households buying used cars rather than new. Masson also mentioned that there are currently no limits on the lifespan of a used petrol or diesel car, while the industry expects petrol cars to be off the roads by 2050.
Despite the ban’s delay, the UK government is imposing strict quotas on electric car sales as part of the Zero Emission Vehicles mandate. This mandate requires 22% of new cars sold in 2030 to be electric, and manufacturers face significant fines if they fail to meet the target. However, delaying the ban could potentially reduce demand for new electric cars, which could impact the availability of used electric cars in the future.
In summary, while the ban on new petrol and diesel cars may not directly affect the majority of motorists, the future availability of used electric cars remains uncertain. Delaying the ban could lead to fewer new electric car registrations, resulting in a limited choice of used electric vehicles. As a result, drivers may be more inclined to opt for used petrol or diesel cars instead. The automotive industry has expressed concern about a lack of ambition, commitment and consistency in government decisions, which could undermine confidence in the sector.